The Science Of Sports Fandom

Win or lose, watching sports changes you. What research says about being a fan.

Go Team
Chuck France / KU University Relations)

Whether you're lamenting the devastation of your March Madness bracket or gearing up for the excitement of a baseball-filled spring, sports fandom can be an emotional roller coaster.

There's more to being a fan than just buying tickets and turning on the TV: Scientists study sports fans to look into everything from group dynamics and social bonds to brand marketing and brain function.

"The game itself doesn't mean anything, but the attachment to it certainly does," journalist Eric Simons writes in his new book The Secret Lives of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession. "Watching sports is insanely complicated--and very personal--but underneath the layers of personality and culture lie the biological and psychological roots of a universal obsession."

Here are some of the things being an intense sports fan does to you: